Single Issue Voter?

Reader KathyH brought up something in the comments about single issue voting, which got me interested.   Just out of curiosity, how many of you folks are single issue voters?

I am not, generally, believe it or not.  I’ve never voted for someone outright hostile to gun-rights, but I have voted for politicians who were less than staunch allies because I agreed with them on other things.  Despite the fact that I think our senior senator, Arlen Specter, is batty and often annoying, I’ve consistently voted for him, because on a lot of other issues, I agree with him on.

I also voted against Rick Santorum, despite is strong support of gun rights, because while I’m willing to accept some token social conservatism, he took the issue to new and insane heights, and I thought he deserved to get kneecapped because of it.

My major issues tend to change from election cycle to election cycle, but 2008 presidential it’s shaping to be:

  • Foreign Policy
  • Supreme Court
  • Smaller government
  • Firearms Policy

I actually suspect 2008 won’t feature much gun control, so I think that issue could end up being off the table.  It will come down to the other three.  I can’t rank in any order, because it depends greatly on how much the candidate offends or supports each view.  My support for Richardson over other Democrats reflects my desire to see gun control completely off the agenda, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t vote for Guiliani over Richardson, if Richardson proposed something like, pulling our of Iraq and leaving the field to Iran and Al-Qaeda.

I’m also very concerned with seeing judges appointed to the Supreme Court who follow what the law says, rather than what they wish it to be.  I tend to agree more with Republicans on this issue than Democrats.  Though I support keeping abortion legal, I don’t favor how the Supreme Court chose to go about doing it.  So I don’t get quite that worked up as your averge Democrat when someone says they think Roe was wrongly decided.

Gun control ranks high in my political calculus, but it’s not overwhelmingly dominant.  This means I will probably never vote for a candidate who is explicitly running on a campaign of gun control, but other things can offend me as well.

9 thoughts on “Single Issue Voter?”

  1. For the most part, I’m a two-issue voter–abortion and gun rights are most important to me. If there are two similar candidates on these two issues, things like taxes and foreign policy (especially immigration) play a role.

  2. I’m a single issue voter only in a few areas. In order: illegal immigration, gun control, denial of civil liberties without good cause.

    Illegal immigration is my true “make or break” issue. If you favor amnesty, not properly sealing the border, upholding the laws of this country and the immigration rules I’ve had to live by, you are history as far as I am concerned. I’m almost an idealogue on this one. Enforcement, seal and then we’ll talk compassion (which I am not lacking, I just lack it in 10-20 million person quantities).

    Gun control is number two. Fortunately, when a politician is in favor of illegals, they tend to be anti-gun so it isn’t hard for me to kiss them off and vote for the other guy.

    Everything else I am pretty moderate. I’ll accept a balance. Somethings I favor strongly, others I would oppose strongly as the issue arose but it is rarely as black and white as these two issues are for me.

    Stances on gun control and immigration are usually enough to see how someone views you and the country. Law, fairness, justice, individual rights and personal responsibility are all important to me and generally those who favor amnesty or denial of gun rights are generally elitist and against those.

  3. I’m not in favor of amnesty, but living in Pennsylvania, I’m pretty far from the issue. I’m also cognizant that large segments of the economy require migrant labor to operate. There has to be a way to let people come here to work, but still keep track of who’s coming and going.

  4. I wouldn’t say I’m a single issue voter, but gun rights is definitely on the top of my list.

    The right to keep and bear arms is the right that protects all the others. I firmly believe that so it is of about 75% importance in my voting choices.

  5. My big issues are:
    Low Taxes, Small Government, and School Choice. School choice is a big one with me because I am actally given a choice in my school district where to send my child. I find it unconcionable that not everybody has that opportunity, too.

    Way down at the bottom of the list is abortion. I’ve never based my votes on it, and I don’t envision my self ever doing that.

  6. single-issue voters annoy the ever-lovin’ bugnuts out of me. i see them as deliberately blinkered, willing to sacrifice all the rest of society for their one pet project. those who claim their one issue is fundamental or a bellwether strike me as arrogant, unwilling to consider that even if they’re right now (which usually could be argued either way), that may change.

    gun rights are a good thing, because society ought to trust law-abiding adults with such force; it’s patronizing not to. government should stay out of its citizens’ bedrooms and its female citizens’ uteruses for the very damn same reason — we can be trusted to do the right thing, and if we can’t, then neither can uncle sam. government is not magically more mature and responsible than the rest of us; it too is made up of regular people.

    i’m leftist enough to think government isn’t magically less sensible than the rest of us, either. i also think we live in social groups, as opposed to as hermits each in our own isolated caves, for a reason. society should help its members and support the weaker ones. that’s what it’s for, and that’s why i support socialized healthcare. people’s lives and limbs shouldn’t be run as for-profit businesses, and shouldn’t hinge on HMO’s abilities to make profits off of them. we’ve already got the most expensive healthcare system on the planet, and it lets dozens of millions of us flat down; i despise that fact.

    (yeah, any socialized health care system will have to ration out cures and treatments to people based on cost. so will any other health care system. i happen to think the one we’ve got uses a fundamentally unfair, unreasonable and hurtful method of prioritizing and rationing, to wit, the relative bank account balances and credit limits of care seekers. that should not be what decides who lives and who dies, in my arrogant opinion.)

    U.S. foreign policy is fundamentally broken. but in many ways it always has been, and it’s frankly so unimaginably bad i’ve abandoned hope it’ll ever get better. i’d like for this to be an issue, but it’s not nearly in good enough shape at this point to be one. i’m keeping my mouth shut on it, in general; people find themselves on the no-fly list for protesting it too loudly, these days, which is one indication of just how badly it’s broken.

    immigration is a thorny issue — illegals have broken the law, and deserve some penalty, but in most of the cases theirs is a victimless crime committed only to improve their own lives which incidentally tends to improve the economy too. i’ve seen no good solution proposed for the ones already in the country. closing the border is likely impossible in practice, although getting control of immigration is very much desirable in principle. i don’t pretend to have a good answer myself; i suspect we may have to drastically open up legal immigration just to get most of these folks on paper before we’ll have any hope of stemming the tide of illegals sneaking in off-paper. (FWIW, i happen to be a legal immigrant myself. sending in my citizenship application soon, actually.)

  7. Way down at the bottom of the list is abortion. I’ve never based my votes on it, and I don’t envision my self ever doing that.

    I can see both sides of the issue, but I favor keeping it legal. I do think there’s a point in a pregnancy where abortion become morally suspect, but I’ve never been able to understand the idea that a collection of cells, or a fetus which is barely distinguishable from that of an amphibian’s is to be considered human life. I don’t pretend to have any special moral insight as to where exactly that line should be drawn, but it seems to me that most pro-lifers don’t accept that it’s absolutely arbitrary, and most pro-choices don’t accept that you have to draw a line somewhere. I’m comfortable with birth being that line, but I’d also be comfortable with restrictions on late term abortions.

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